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My Training in D.C. for Food for Life Instructor with Physicians Committee

physicians committee for responsible medicine

In August 2015, I went to Washington, D.C. for training with Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine to become a Food for Life instructor, and I could never have predicted the impact the experience would have on me.

Though I had been excitedly waiting for nearly a year to complete the very thorough and extensive application process to teach this award-winning nutrition and cooking program that was designed by physicians, nutrition experts, and registered dietitians, I still was not prepared for the extent and magnitude of the upcoming training.

Online, through plant-based Facebook groups, I had met a handful of others that had also been selected to attend training and certification. A few of us had corresponded in the months leading up to our August classes, so it was nice to feel like I knew some of the other participants a little bit.

However, once training began, I realized just how diverse the group was with participants from Italy, Hong Kong, Canada, and South Africa. There were physicians, registered dietitians, Ph.D.’s, restaurant owners, and everything in-between. It was amazing to be part of such a group!

Training began as a whirlwind with welcome, introductions, and an overview of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Then there was a succession of experts–Dr, Neal Barnard (president of PCRM), dietitians, and people with lots of letters following their names–that gave empowering lectures.

As the days went on, I became more and more confident about my ability to teach others about the power of food for healing the body.

The days and classes continued with program guidelines and agreements, guidance in the administration process, class demonstrations from the seasoned professionals, curriculum overviews, technical aspects of cooking demonstrations, sales, and marketing orientation, and media training.

And finally, on the last day of training, we were taken to one of Washington, D.C.’s Whole Foods Markets where we individually gave live cooking demonstrations. No pressure, huh?!

To say that I was nervous is a complete understatement! There’s nothing like taking a small town country girl from North Carolina and putting her in the ginormous city of D.C., in a food retailer as large as Whole Foods Market (this one was on steroids compared to any Whole Foods I had ever seen–2 stories high!), and telling her to teach and cook.

I was completely out of my element! But I smiled, sucked it up, and did as I’ve been told many times, ‘Fake it till you make it!’ Though I can’t remember much about what I actually said, it must have been okay because they gave me my Instructor License.

Now I’m back home, with a mountain of textbooks and curricula to study. Thankfully, since I’m a research nerd, I had already read all three of the textbooks….maybe more than once… I told you I’m a nerd. So, my workload is a little less than many of the other newly licensed instructors. Which is a good thing since I already have an introduction class scheduled for September 15th at a local physical therapy medical facility, and my first series, Kickstart Your Health,  is scheduled to begin October 7th.

I’m also talking with two hospitals about scheduling sessions to begin in the fall. PCRM also has an Employee Wellness program for employers, so I can’t wait to begin exploring that option with local businesses.

I’m bursting at the seams to get this show on the road! This little Carolina girl is eager to get out there and hold the hands of those suffering from cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and so many other health issues. I want to share the avalanche of scientific research supporting the link between diet and health, watch as participants experience the benefits of plant-based nutrition, and learn the practical cooking skills needed to aid them on their journey to better health.

I can’t wait to help others understand how easy and satisfying plant-based nutrition can be and watch their transformation back to health. Read about my personal journey back to health HERE.

Now that I’m all trained up, nothing can stop me. Lookout North and South Carolina, I’m on my way! Let’s do this! Here’s my profile page with Physicians Committee PROFILE PCRM.

physicians committee for responsible medicine

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Wednesday 28th of September 2016

Hi Terri'

I am in the process of applying for the next PCRM class! I just happened upon this page, and would love to get some input from you. I feel as though its my next step in my never ending journey to help people with their health. If you can find the time, maybe we could share some emails. Thanks in advance.


Thursday 29th of September 2016

Katy, Please feel free to email me at [email protected] I will be glad to talk with you.

Shobha Swamy

Wednesday 20th of January 2016

Awesome journey at PCRM! I too would like to connect with you to talk to you about taking this training this fall. Please do let me know if you are available to chat for a few minutes. I live in Atlanta, GA and I am very passionate about Whole Food Plant Based Nutrition for the sake of Health, Compassion and our Environment. Please let me know, thanks shobha

Sandra Perri

Saturday 5th of September 2015

Hi Terri, Thanks for sharing your story! I was wondering if you can give me more information regarding your training. I am considering changing careers! Since being plant-based fora year now, I see the world through different eyes! I am very passionate about educating others about diet and health but feel I need more scientific data to back up what i say. My family thinks I just make up all the facts, even though I've told them to watch Forks over Knives, read the China Study or subscribe to Dr. Gregers website. How long is the course and when is the next one? I tried to follow link to apply on website but couldn't actually find any dates of the course. Also, can I eventually make a living form this career change? I plan to eventually write a plant-based book. I have my own blog which I started but is on hold for now. I'd like to share Italian Homemade recipes which are modified with a plant-based twist, as well as provide information, links about the benefits of eating whole, plant-based foods. Here is my blog,

Thanks Terri


Sunday 6th of September 2015

Hi Sandra, The with Physicians Committee is simply to get licensed for their Food for Life program, so it was not a long training--only 3 days. The dates for next year's session have not been published yet, but it usually happens in the summer months between June-August. To learn more about the scientific facts of plant-based nutrition, I would suggest reading the textbooks for Food for Life--The Cancer Survivor's Guide, Dr. Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes, and 21-Day Weight Loss KickStart. It is very possible to make a living at being a Food for Life instructor, but I will say it takes a lot of work. If you are also business-minded with administrative stuff and completely self-motivated, you can definitely make it work. There is a lot of opportunity there. Best of luck with your endeavors and I hope this information helps! I like your blog too!


Sunday 30th of August 2015

Terri, if you don't mind me asking, what were the 3 textbooks they wanted you to read?


Sunday 30th of August 2015

Jan, the textbooks were: 21-Day Weight Loss KickStart, The Cancer Survivor's Guide, and Dr. Neal Barnard Program for Reversing Diabetes. All are excellent books and available on amazon. Happy reading! :)


Monday 24th of August 2015

Just found your blog. Just love it!!!! So, you were in my neck of the woods. I am so excited to hear PCRM is opening in DC. What an opportunity to share WFPB to a wide range of people. There are so many people who are starving to know how to live a healthy lifestyle. I would love to go through this training. This is my passion and I love to do cooking demos too. You will do awesome! Looking forward to hearing more about your journey on your blog.


Monday 24th of August 2015

I'm so glad you found my blog! D.C. was a terrific city, and I hope to get to visit again. Next time, I'd love to stop by the new PCRM medical center.